FIELD NOTES—AMERICAS

Key stakeholders in Latin America and the Caribbean consider institutional obstacles, such as pricing policy and poor regulatory frameworks, to be the most critical barriers to increasing investments in water and sewerage...

Regional: Key stakeholders in Latin America and the Caribbean consider institutional obstacles, such as pricing policy and poor regulatory frameworks, to be the most critical barriers to increasing investments in water and sewerage, according to a survey conducted by the US-based company CG/LA Infrastructure LLC for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

Approximately 93% of respondents perceive pricing policy and tariff levels as being a major or a significant obstacle to increasing investments in the sector. More than 50% of respondents in Mexico and Chile identify this constraint, which is the most difficult of all to solve, as critical.

The survey, carried out in September to October 2003, also found that the lack of payment capacity of consumers ranks below other institutional obstacles. Only 19% of respondents consider this obstacle as critical.

All respondents identified wastewater and sewerage treatment as the first investment priority. According to the IDB survey report, "More than 130m people lack minimal sewerage facilities and more than 250m people live in areas where wastewater is not treated before it is sent into rivers" in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Jamaica: The National Water Commission (NWC) is trying to raise US$ 400m from overseas investors to upgrade the aging, overburdened sewerage system that services Kingston and St. Catherine. The US$ 65-m first phase of the sewerage system project will treat and recycle the effluent, which can then be used in irrigation. Sludge produced from the new plant may be used for agricultural manure. Currently, the NWS pays US$ 3.3m to the Jamaica Service Company to operate is sewage treatment plants.

USA: Bechtel awarded a contract to Aeromix Systems, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for 24 low-speed aerators that will be used in the rebuilding of two wastewater treatment plants in Iraq. The Twister low-speed aerator simultaneously mixes and aerates the wastewater basin.

The rebuilding of these two wastewater treatment plants is part of a larger project at several Iraqi sites, including Baghdad, Najaf, Karbala, Kerkh, Diwaniyah, Hillah and Basrah. Full restoration of these systems should double the flow of clean water to residents. Continuing improvement of the wastewater facilities will improve sanitation service for 700,000 people. Prior to restoration of the poorly functioning treatment plants, sewage from the city's 5.5 million residents has been directly flowing into the Tigris River.

USA: The George E. Failing Company (GEFCO) will hold its Eighth Annual Resource Drilling Fundamental's Training Seminar at the company's manufacturing facility in Enid, Oklahoma, USA from 25 to 30 April 2004. The course is offered in conjunction with the Canadian School of Environmental & Natural Resource Sciences, Fleming College. Reservations can be made through the international sales office. Visit the web site at www.gefco.com or send an email to intsales@gefco.com

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